GRANDVIEW, Mo. – A Grandview couple wants the public to know about a potential rental scam after they said they were conned out of $2,000.
Joshua and Ashley Easterly saw a 3-bedroom home rental listed on Facebook Marketplace on Wednesday. They said Heather Irvin made the post, and they contacted her to meet at the house, located on East 119th Street in Grandview, on Thursday.
“She actually walked through the back door, opened up the front door, let us in and showed us the whole house,” Joshua Easterly said.
The Easterlys said Irvin gave them a walk-through of the house and told them they could move in on Saturday after a crew cleaned the property.
“She told us it was actually the first house she bought out of college,” Joshua Easterly said.
“She had us sold,” Ashley Easterly added. “She had us fooled completely.”
The couple showed FOX4 a signed leased agreement as well as a money order receipt to cover the deposit and first month’s rent. When moving day rolled around, the couple said Irvin stopped contacting them.
“She blocked me on Facebook, blocked our calls on her phone and we couldn’t get a hold of her,” Joshua Easterly said. “We got in contact with her family who told us she actually doesn’t own the property.”
FOX4 found the real homeowner, Tanesha Ray, who said Irvin used to live at the house between January and July of 2017, but that she was evicted over damages to the property and failing to pay rent.
“I can’t believe somebody has the audacity to pose as a landlord, and they were evicted from the same property,” Ray said.
Ray said Irvin’s sister reached out to her Friday to tell her that Irvin was posing as the landlord; her sister also said they had found rental applications inside their mom’s car, according to Ray.
“Once they got the car back three days later, there was documentation. There was five different applications from my property that potential tenants had filled out,” Ray added. “What she’s doing is fraud and it’s not right. You do not treat people this way.”
Eddie Hill said he and his family almost fell for the same scam just two weeks ago.
“We kept messaging her, asking her if this was for real because we were interested, and she said ‘Yeah,’” Hill said. “She kept insisting that we give her the deposit first before they do anything.”
Although Hill’s family was able to tell something wasn’t right about the situation, the Easterlys admit they were too eager to heed the warning signs.
“All these things we were in denial about because we were so excited and she was so legit,” Ashley Easterly said.
“This all could’ve been avoided if we paid a little more attention to the signs,” Joshua Easterly added.
The Easterlys are staying with friends while they look for another place. They've filed a report with the Grandview Police Department. A detective confirmed they are investigating the case.
FOX4 also talked to Heather Irvin. She denies the allegations and has not been charged with any crime.
If you are ever looking to rent a home, you can always contact your county’s tax assessor’s office to find out who owns the property. Many counties also have that information available online.